During Wednesday night’s Rockies-Angels game, Colorado’s Root Sports Rocky Mountain broadcast crew of Drew Goodman and Jeff Huson provided even more of those hot takes, dressing Hamilton down for not thanking the Angels for paying him tens of millions of dollars *and* for not apologizing to Angels fans for… not playing well? ...
Here’s a transcript of their comments.
“Howie Kendrick is gone. You can focus on that certainly. Also, the whole Josh Hamilton situation. A lot of guys around this club have said that they haven’t fully reconciled what went down in their minds. And a lot of players, not just at the top with Arte Moreno, are upset with Josh Hamilton that he never publicly thanked the Angels for paying him a ton of money. And he obviously didn’t hold up his end up the bargain, I understand he has demons, but he never publicly acknowledged his teammates or the Angels organization at all.”
“And the Angels are still on the hook for about $71 million of the $80 million still owed to him. So yeah, if you want to thank anybody, that’s who you should be thanking.”
“It became more about the Rangers bringing him back, and I don’t know if Josh Hamilton didn’t think it through or got poor advice, but in his situation, in my opinion, you need to spend some time apologizing to the Angels fans, to his teammates, and thanking the organization for what they ended up doing, not only initially, but sending him back to Texas”
It’s to the point where Hamilton is so convincing he doesn’t even have to try. And he hasn’t been trying.
In his Texas press conference, Hamilton never once took responsibility for causing the Angels a lot of heartache. Instead, what he said was Moreno should have known better. That strikes me as a very different message than the one he gave him when selling him on the $125 million deal, which is among the all-time worst from a team perspective.
Hamilton shouldn’t take big hits for his limp performance (31 home runs in two seasons in California). But it was more than a bit weird that the onetime 240-pound star showed up at his first Angels camp weighing 212 pounds. Maybe he was simply saddened to leave Texas, as others around the Angels say he seemed glum a lot of the time. Maybe he was homesick.
Whatever, he wasn’t the same player, almost from the moment he got to Orange County and donned Angels red. There once was an big Angels free agent, Lyman Bostock, so upset not to be living up to a big free-agent deal that he apologized and offered to give back part of the money.
Of course, people are different, times have changed and apologies are neither required nor expected for underperformance. But Hamilton created this year’s mess with his actions. When he relapsed, he might have shown more remorse. Or at least some.
Angels people suggested two things to Hamilton after the star admitted to the relapse. One was that he consider checking into rehab. The other was that he call Moreno to apologize.
Angels owner Arte Moreno said Friday he might try to enforce contractual language he says protects the team from a substance-abuse relapse by outfielder Josh Hamilton.
The owner also would not say that Hamilton would play another game for the Angels.
“I will not say that,” Moreno said.
An arbitrator ruled last week that Hamilton, who reported the relapse, had not violated baseball’s drug policy and thus could not be suspended. Angels President John Carpino said it “defies logic” that Hamilton, who was suspended from baseball from 2004-06 after battles with drugs and alcohol, would not have violated his treatment program.
Moreno said he has not spoken to Hamilton since the outfielder reported his relapse to the league. Hamilton met with league officials in New York on Feb. 25….
Any contract language that supersedes baseball’s collectively bargained drug policy generally is not allowed. The players’ union released a statement to that effect It was regarding Moreno’s remarks.
“The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions from earlier today that the Angels had requested and received the approval of the Union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede the provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement and/or the Basic Agreement. To the contrary, the collectively bargained provisions of the JDA and the Basic Agreement supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent Clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to in his press comments today.”
Intentional or not, MLB’s steroid policy has been a massive money-saver for owners. In the Biogenesis case alone, $31 million in salaries were saved by teams. MLB even went so far as to threaten Alex Rodriguez with a lifetime suspension from the game, which would have saved the Yankees at least another $60 million on top of the $22 million the club retained in 2014—all before potential eight-figure luxury tax savings are accounted for. While suspensions without pay are far easier to justify for performance-enhancing drugs than they are for drugs of abuse, MLB and the Yankees attempted to go above and beyond the joint drug agreement in an attempt to bilk Rodriguez out of money he’s contractually-owed.
MLB needs to fix its incentives. It shouldn’t be hard. Just look at what the rest of the major sports leagues do with their suspension and fine money. Section 6 of Article VI of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement lays out a policy in which all fines and pay lost through suspensions are channeled to charity, with one half going to charities selected by the NBA Players Association and the other half going to charities selected by the league. The NHL directs its player fines to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, with a mission to help former NHL players who have fallen into poor health or dire financial straits. Similarly, all NFL on-field fines go to the NFL Player Care Foundation.
As for how things work in baseball? After 60 days in the drug program—according to the Los Angeles Times, it’s unclear if Hamilton exhausted these 60 days during his time with the Devil Rays in the early 2000s or not—a player is no longer entitled to salary retention even if he is in treatment. As such, a year-long suspension for Hamilton would save the Angels anywhere from just under $17 million to the full $23 million if MLB determines his treatment days have already been used up.